Sunday, April 21, 2002

Cincinnati director clings to dream

By Margaret A. McGurk
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Filmmaker Ed Radtke began work on the script for his second independent feature The Dream Catcher in 1994. The finished film screened in public for the first time in August 1999 at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland.

        After dozens of festival screenings around the world, commercial release in Europe and special showings in New York, Cincinnati and Dayton, the movie will become an official North American release this year.

        The delay traces back to business woes. Not long after the film was picked up by a small, start-up distributor, the company ran into financial trouble, changed its name and management — and put The Dream Catcher on hold for a year.

        Meanwhile, Mr. Radtke says, “I'm moving on.” The Dayton-area native has been traveling, working on friends' films and teaching filmmaking skills to at-risk teen-agers in rural Ohio; most of the teens have had brushes with the law.

        “It's really inspiring working with teen-agers,” he says. “I think it's the most important work I could be doing right now.”

        For all his ties to Ohio, however, Mr. Radtke says he must bow to the demands of the film business and will move to Los Angeles to complete a script he has been writing and pursue opportunities to direct.

        European exposure for The Dream Catcher earned him an invitation to collaborate on the screenplay for Aime Ton Pere (Love Your Father), a French film starring father-and-son actors Gerard and Guillaume Depardieu. It is slated for European release this year.

        The Dream Catcher — shot on a shoestring budget in Dayton, Cincinnati, Yellow Springs and other Ohio towns, plus Utah and Nevada — has been well received in Europe, with releases in France, Scandinavia and Spain. It recently sold to French TV.

        “Some of the European television sales are going to get us out of debt,” Mr. Radtke says, “and the investors will start to recoup their money.”

        In the United States, The Dream Catcher is due to be released in five or six big cities; if it does unusually well it may appear elsewhere. In any event, it is slated to be available on DVD by the end of this year.

        It has been a long road full of frustration, Mr. Radtke admits. “Regardless of all this, I try to remind myself what is most important, and that is the work itself.”


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